The objective of this study was to determine the relative efficacy and safety of fluoxetine and amitriptyline in the treatment of major depression complicating Alzheimer's disease (AD). The sample included 37 patients with AD and major depression. The study design was a double-blind, fixed-dose, randomized clinical trial with 45 days of follow-up. The outcome measures were the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (Ham-D), the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), and the number of dropouts from each arm of the study. Efficacy was similar for fluoxetine and amitriptyline. At Day 45, there was a mean 9.4- point reduction in Ham-D scores (t([df,62]) = 9.68, P < 0.0001) and a 2.4- point mean increase in MMSE scores as compared to baseline (t([df,2]) = 2.69, P = 0.009). Eleven (58%) of the amitriptyline-treated patients dropped out, compared with 4 (22%) of the fluoxetine-treated patients (χ2([df,2]) = 8.9, P = 0.017). The authors conclude that antidepressant treatment for major depression complicating AD is effective. While fluoxetine and amitriptyline are equally effective, fluoxetine is better tolerated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health